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'Walking Dead' gets RiffTrax treatment on eve of show's return

"Mystery Science Theater 3000" alums help fans laugh their way through the days when a clean-shaven Rick was just a tray of crab legs on a zombie's buffet.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

As Sunday's season 7 premiere of "The Walking Dead" looms, fans know the show is on the verge of bidding farewell to one, maybe two beloved characters at the end of Negan's barbed-wire-wrapped baseball bat, Lucille.

But while viewers can still luxuriate in the innocence of not knowing who gets taken out to the ball game, they can also travel back to a more innocent time in the lives of Rick and the rest. The three "Mystery Science Theater" alums who formed RiffTrax are offering up a new humorous take on "Walking Dead's" very first episode, which aired way back in 2010.

You remember. A clean-shaven Rick, riding a horse through the zombified streets. Poor Bicycle Girl, whose sad story would come later in the AMC webisodes. No Daryl, no Michonne, no Carol, no endless episodes at the prison.

But even the terrifying undead are a lot more fun with the wisecracks of Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. As the light from outside the abandoned hospital blasts a newly wakened Rick, Murphy cracks, "When gamers have to run errands during the daytime." When partner Shane, in a flashback, tells Rick his troubles with wife Lori are just a phase, Nelson adds, "A phase, like the popularity of zombie stuff, I thought." As hungry walkers pursue a galloping Rick on horseback, Nelson says it's "the equivalent of when the buffet guy puts out a fresh tray of crab legs."

For $3.99, fans can buy the "just the jokes" commentary that overlays the episode but have to obtain the show themselves. The free RiffTrax app will synch up the jokes with the show. The comics have riffed dozens of other TV shows, movies, and goofy educational shorts, and they've also goofed on the pilot to another hit cable show, "Game of Thrones."

Can't get enough RiffTrax? The crew is taking on cult horror classic "Carnival of Souls" next week in a live riffing performance that will be simulcast to theaters nationwide Oct. 27 and again on Oct. 31.